Therapy for Existential Awareness in Madison, WI

The thesis of Ernst Becker’s famous book, The Denial of Death, is that everything we do in normal life is designed to distract us from the reality that our existence in this life is temporary. The benefit of taking a close look at death and our own mortality is that it can serve to bring more vitality and meaning to being alive. How are we to conceive of and come to terms with the prospect of not-being? It offends our sensibilities, challenges our beliefs, triggers anxiety, grief, and raises difficult questions about meaning and purpose.  There is a Buddhist meditation practice of sitting amongst corpses to get familiar with death and to deeply embrace the notion that much of what we worry about is actually not important.  If we can lean to be in the present, practice non-attachment, humility, and compassion, we can enrich our experience in this life, moment by moment. It is good to think deeply and talk openly about these things. We are all in the same predicament, and this fundamental commonality can serve to elicit compassion for ourselves and others.

With greater awareness of death and mortality can come the question of meaning. What is the point? What is our purpose? While this is a profoundly personal question, and sure to be different for every one of us, it is safe to say all of our experiences in life will be deepened by making it our business to stay present and engaged in each moment as it arrives, to not allow ourselves to project forward to the future or cling to the past, but to ride the waves of now like surfing the great ocean of change.

Here in Madison, many people have a desire to explore these ideas, but it isn’t always easy to broach the topic.  We can offer you a safe and supportive space to face and share your thoughts and feelings about these difficult topics.